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État, marché et institutions


  • Philippe Coppens


Mainstream economics is built on a strong separation between positive economics and normative economics which in fact proceeds from Hume’s dichotomy between « is » and « ought ». The former would describe some aspect of economy (around the question of allocations of scarce resources) with positive and objective statements ; whereas the latter could only prescribe some policies for using the scarcity with normative and subjective statements. Normative and subjective are particularly used to mean that these statements rest upon value judgments which can not be universalized and, hence, which are neither true nor false. In its purest form, the model of market economy with perfect competition is not compatible with any form of government. Economic actors are always maximizers of their own utility – that is the most striking feature of their personality, if not the only one ! And the market, the second pillar of the system, translates the demand and supply of goods and services by prices. My paper criticizes these two pillars. The idea is to substitute the notions of economic rationality and market by a locus in which pragmatic action and institutions can give some more substance to a far too much mechanical human being. By this shift, we try to think the concept of methodological individualism in terms of a legal, social and intersubjective category.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Coppens, 2007. "État, marché et institutions," Revue internationale de droit économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 293-316.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_213_0293

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